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April 10, 2006
Open PostBy Greyhawk
Posted by Greyhawk / April 10, 2006 9:19 PM | Permalink
While making an appearance on Meet The Press this past weekend, Senator John Kerry took the opportunity to blast President Bush for his refusal to take the nuclear option off of the table with regards to dealing with Iran's increasingly Read More
My brother’s letter is too good to not post. Dear Senator Middleton: Last month, I participated in an overnight Cub Scout trip to the Maryland Science Center with two of my boys. On a whole, it was a delightful experience. There was one as... Read More
Via LA Times Ruth Malhotra went to court last month for the right to be intolerant. Malhotra says her Christian faith compels her to speak out against homosexuality. But the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she’s a senior, bans speech th... Read More
Patriotism can only be red, white and blue in Montgomery Township's Pinecrest community. Cathy Andreacchio and her fianc, Mike Devita, found that out when they hung a Marine Corps flag outside their townhouse to support Andreacchio's son while he tr... Read More
To maintain the political solidarity it's necessary to keep the preditor pressure on the group. Just as soon as people start to look outside of themselves for causes they believe in, it's all over. Read More
Well, it's over today. Yep, the 2006 Sun n' Fun Fly In is seeing the last people leave today. Here's a quick outbrief, but not with pictures of the actual event...those come tonight. Read More
News ItemBorders and Waldenbooks stores will not stock the April-May issue of Free Inquiry magazine because it contains cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that provoked deadly protests among Muslims in several countries. For us, the safety and security o... Read More
If this boycott extends to the emergency room, the doctors and nurses that comprise the emergency room staff at the USC Medical center in the heart of Los Angeles are bracing for a day they fear will hit "like a 9.0 earthquake."... Read More
Between them, Subsunk and Rurik made me realize something I think we all have in common with a lot of other vets. When my father, who celebrated V-J day on the USS Saratoga (CV-3), passed away my mother wasn't sure at first that he'd want military hono... Read More
Spoiler alert! For those who wonder what happens to Jack Bauer at the end of this season, we're sure death is not one of them. Kiefer Sutherland has signed a 3 year deal with 20th Century Fox television. He also Read More
Three years ago today, I sat in my HMMWV at the south end of the western runway at the Saddam Baghdad International Airport and wept as I listened to BBC reports of crowds pulling down the statue of their dictator in another part of the city. Read More
What not to do to get a personal day off from work. From Channel Oklahoma: WATERLOO, Iowa -- Some people will do anything to get out of work. Police in Iowa have arrested two people accused of filing a fake obituary for... Read More
November 26, 2010
I think anyone who's ever pondered the "comment" option - once only available on blogs and bulletin boards, now ubiquitous on almost any web site - will appreciate this:
The so-called faculty of writing is not so much a faculty of writing as it is a faculty of thinking. When a man says, "I have an idea but I can't express it"; that man hasn't an idea but merely a vague feeling. If a man has a feeling of that kind, and will sit down for a half an hour and persistently try to put into writing what he feels, the probabilities are at least 90 percent that he will either be able to record it, or else realize that he has no idea at all. In either case, he will do himself a benefit.
That's wisdom from the past, captured for posterity at the US Naval Institute, shared via the web on the institute's 137th anniversary.
From their about page:
"The Naval Institute has three core activities," among them, History and Preservation:
The Naval Institute also has recently introduced Americans at War, a living history of Americans at war in their own words and from their own experiences. These 90-second vignettes convey powerful stories of inspiration, pride, and patriotism.
Take a look at the collection, and you'll see it's not limited to accounts from those who served on ships at sea, members of the other branches are well-represented.
I'm fortunate to have met USNI's Mary Ripley, she's responsible for the institute's oral history program (and she's the daughter of the late John Ripley, whose story is told here). She also deserves much credit for their blog. ("We're not the Navy nor any government agency. Blog and comment freely.") We met at a milblog conference - Mary knew (and I would come to realize) that milbloggers are the 21st-century version of exactly what the US Naval Institute is all about. Once that light bulb came on in my head, I mentioned a vague idea for a project to her - milblogs as the 21st century oral history that they are.
"Put that in writing," she said (of course - see first paragraph above!) - and here's part of the result.
Shortly after the first tent was pitched by the American military in Iraq a wire was connected to a computer therein, and the internet was available to a generation of Americans at war - many of whom had grown up online. From that point on, at any given moment, somewhere in Iraq a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine was at a keyboard sharing the events of his or her day with the folks back home. While most would simply fire off an email, others took advantage of the (then) relatively new online blogging platforms to post their thoughts and experiences for the entire world to see. The milblog was born - and from that moment to this stories detailing everything from the most mundane aspects of camp life to intense combat action (often described within hours of the event) have been available on the web...
And et cetera - but since you're reading this on a milblog, you probably knew that. And you know that milblogs aren't just blogs written by troops at war, that many friends, family members, and supporters likewise documented their story of America at war online in near-real time, as those stories developed.
The diversity in membership of that group is broad, the one thing we all have in common is the impulse to make sense of the seemingly senseless, and communicate the tale - for each of us that impulse was strong enough to overcome whatever barriers prevent the vast majority of people from doing the same. Everyone at some point has some vague idea they believe should be shared - we were the people who, from some combination of internal and external urging, found and spent those many half hours persistently trying to write it down.
But where will all that be in another 137 years? Or five or ten, for that matter. That's something I've asked myself since at least 2004 - when I wrote this:
Membership in the ghost battalion has grown in the years since, and an ever growing majority of those abandoned-but-still-standing sites are vanishing. Have you checked out Lt Smash's site lately? How about Sgt Hook's? If you're a long-time milblog reader you know the first widely-read milblog from Operation Iraq Freedom and the first widely-read milblog from Afghanistan are both gone from the web. If you're a relative newcomer to this world you may never even have heard of them - or the dozens upon dozens of others who carried forth the standard they set down.
If you have a vague notion that something should be done about that, (a notion I've heard expressed more than once...) then you and I and the good folks at the US Naval Institute are in agreement. Preserving the history documented by the milbloggers is just one of the goals of the milblog project, the once-vague idea that we're now making real.
And it's a big idea, if I say so myself - too big to explain in one simple blog post, so stand by for more. Likewise, it's too big a task to be accomplished by just one person. So if you're a milblogger (and exactly what is a milblogger? is a topic for much further discussion on its own) I'm asking for your help. All I'll really need is just a little bit (maybe just one or two of those half hours...) of your time, and your willingness to tell the tale.
We've already made history, it's time to save it.
(More to follow...)
The Mudville Gazette is the on-line voice of an American warrior and his wife who stands by him. They prefer to see peaceful change render force of arms unnecessary. Until that day they stand fast with those who struggle for freedom, strike for reason, and pray for a better tomorrow.
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